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Illustration of New York Tombs from the 1896 book, "In Jail With Charles Dickens."
1896 illustration of New York Tombs from “In Jail With Charles Dickens.” It was a bit more aesthetic than the current Metropolitan Detention Complex.

Recently, I overheard what appeared to be a couple sitting outside at a restaurant on Court Street, Brooklyn. The subject of the conversation was quite different than the exchange I covered in an earlier article about overhearing a date on Court Street. As I walked by, I heard the lady telling the gentleman who appeared to be her date that she does not associate with men who who went to jail. This is actually a highly censored version of what she said – for she used at least two words in making this point that would certainly not be amenable to publication in what my colleague has reminded us is a “family website.” In any event, the gentleman responded quickly, assuring the lady that he had never been to prison. She added that she does not “[expletive] around with that.”

Since I was on my way down the sidewalk, I quickly moved out of earshot of the couple. The lady was quite serious in laying down her “no ex-jail residents” rule, and she reiterated the point strongly after the gentleman assured her that he had never been incarcerated. One must wonder if the lady has perhaps been burned in the past, leading to the necessity of setting a bright line rule before she wasted any time on dead-end endeavors.

Far be it from me to make any recommendations – the lady seemed to have the situation more than under control – but I would suggest she consider adding provisions about “arrests” and “convictions” in addition to having actually been incarcerated, especially in light of recent changes in the law in New York. It may also be helpful to check for illegal narcotics use and other criminal activity that may not have led to prosecution. Has he ever had counseling or done community service in order to avoid official sanction? Incarceration is a high bar, and imperfect in and of itself for screening out individuals with criminal records from the dating pool. Noting that she may have had some bad experiences in the past, one can never be too careful.

In any event, I hope that the gentleman was being honest, and that having established that he was not a hardened criminal, they had a lovely first date and made plans for a second.